Category Archives: Media

Comic strip “Mutts” barks in on Prop 2

mutts patrick mcdonnell prop 2Nationally syndicated comic strip “Mutts” has dedicated this week’s theme to animal cruelty in a nod to artist Patrick McDonnell’s support for California’s Proposition 2: Standards for Confining Farm Animals.

In an interview with Huffington Post, McDonnell explains the roots behind his involvement:

In MUTTS I try to see the world through the eyes of animals. This has made me more conscious of how tough many of them have it on this planet. In 2000 I was asked to join the Board of Directors of The Humane Society of the United States, and became even more aware and involved. I felt that my strip could address (hopefully, for the most part, in an entertaining way) some of these issues and help give the animals a voice.

Prop 2 asks voters, “Shall certain farm animals be allowed, for the majority of every day, to fully extend their limbs or wings, lie down, stand up and turn around?” Animals affected would be “pregnant pigs, calves raised for veal, and egg-laying hens.”

Most of the discussion has centered on egg production, and opponents argue the bill would put increase costs that would put local farmers out of production, forcing consumers to purchase potentially unsafe eggs from Mexico and elsewhere.

Hey, undecided voters, come watch the debate at KNBC studios!

Still on the fence between Obama-Biden and McCain-Palin and looking for a cool spot to watch the first Presidential debate on Friday night?

KNBC Channel 4 is looking for Undecided Voters that will be watching the Presidential debate Friday, Sept 26th.

We’d like to find 6-10 voters to watch the debate here at our Burbank studios… after we will get your response to what you witnessed?  Who won? Who lost? Did the debate change your mind?

(If you cannot come into the studios, you can still send in your webcam or cell phone video responses to ISEE@KNBC.COM between 7pm-9pm Friday Sept. 26th.)

If you like to come into the studios, please email mekahlo.medina@nbcuni.com by Thursday 7pm.

Former L.A. Mayor Riordan vs. John McCain

As former LA Mayor Richard Riordan entered Tuesday night’s Barack Obama fundraiser in Beverly Hills he told CBS2, “When I was mayor I had dealings with McCain where I didn’t respect him.”

Riordan, a Republican, is now endorsing Obama for President, saying, “I think he’s a much more open person. He’s young, he has more energy, more electricity.” [watch here]

And Riordan knows something about age in politics – he was 72 in 2002 when he was beat in the race to be California Governor to the much younger Gray Davis, a factor that Politico’s Gary South, who worked on Gray’s campaign attributes to Riordan’s loss.

…the overwhelming majority of [voter focus group] participants thought Riordan was younger than he was, most guessing in his 60s. When informed of his actual age, it was an instant disqualifier for 25-30 percent of the participants in nearly every focus group (and this, of course, was for governor, not president). As of today, it will be quite evident to every voter that McCain is, in fact, 72 years old.

The focus group then, on their own, began making connections between Riordan’s age and former President Ronald Reagan’s alzheimers, “surmising that the onset of the latter’s Alzheimer’s had actually occurred while he was still in office.” The Riordan campaign attempted to deflect the age issue by distributing photos of Riordan riding a bike with Lance Armstrong and pumping iron in his basement gym. Continue reading

L.A. photographer dupes McCain into taking unflattering portraits

Photographer Jill Greenberg made headline a couple years ago after she’d boasted about making her toddler models cry in order to get the shots she needed for her “End Times” exhibit. Now she’s making news again for deceiving a subject in order to get a portrait, but this time instead of a toddler it’s senior citizen John McCain.

The New York Post writes that Greenberg “had tricked McCain into standing over a strobe light placed on the floor — turning the septuagenarian’s face into a horror show of shadows.”

Asking McCain to “please come over here” for a final shot, Greenberg pretended to be using a standard modeling light.

The resulting photos depict McCain as devilish, with bulging brows and washed-out skin.

“He had no idea he was being lit from below,” Greenberg said, adding that none of his entourage picked up on the light switch either. “I guess they’re not very sophisticated,” she said.

Greenberg, who is also known for highly stylized, retouched images of celebrities, boasted to the Post, “I left his eyes red and his skin looking bad.” However, she has posted some heavily retouched photos of McCain on her website including one with blood dripping out of his face. Thumbnails of the images above (originals here – to access click on “names” then scroll to John McCain, sorted by first name).

The photo session was for a cover story in Atlantic magazine on the Republican Presidential candidate. After hearing of Greenberg’s manipulation of the subject, editor James Bennet announced he wouldn’t be paying her for the photos, citing that she’d violated her terms of agreement with the magazine.

While I can’t speak to Greenberg’s specific motivations for these tactics, it seems that using lies and manipulation probably isn’t the way to make a statement against those same methods. Just sayin’.

…more at LA Observed and Huffington Post

Don’t buy into Sarah Palin libelism and slander

Sarah Palin has barely been a household name for ten days, yet almost immediately everyone has a strong opinion of her. Not surprisingly, the internet has abounded with plenty of distortions and lies about her record – cough, some even coming out of her own mouth. But in a somewhat interest of fairness – and flat out disgust that our culture is so willing to spread the worst of rumors, I wanted to come to the defense of the Republican Vice Presidential nominee.

As a general primer, keep an eye on FactCheck.org, which has been working overtime trying to keep track of the 2008 Presidential Campaign. Their article “Sliming Sarah Palin” makes the case for the following and more:

  • Palin did not demand that books be banned from the Wasilla library, she’d only asked a “what if?,” and the librarian she asked the question of “continued in her job through most of Palin’s first term.”
  • “She was never a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, a group that wants Alaskans to vote on whether they wish to secede from the United States. She’s been registered as a Republican since May 1982.”
  • Palin has not pushed for teaching creationism in Alaska’s schools. She has said that students should be allowed to “debate both sides” of the evolution question, but she also said creationism “doesn’t have to be part of the curriculum.”

But perhaps the worst of all charges is one that right wingers are spreading the most: that Palin said, “Sambo beat the bitch!” upon learning of Obama winning enough electoral votes to be declared the Democatic nominee.

An article reporting this as fact appeared on Los Angeles based blog LA Progressive. The piece, written under the pseudonym Charley James, alleges that an anonymous waitress, Lucille, was working when she overheard the slurs…

Gov. Palin was eating lunch with five or six people when the subject of the Democrat’s primary battle came up. The governor, seemingly not caring that people at nearby tables would likely hear her, uttered the slur and then laughed loudly as her meal mates joined in appreciatively.

James, the author, tells me that a friend of his, who also remains anonymous, vouched for Lucille’s honesty.

As I responded to James as well as the editors of LA Progressive, even a well known journalist wouldn’t publish this, even if they had this waitress on video making the claim. Meanwhile, the editors have not responded to my question of whether or not they verified these volatile claims on their own, making them entirely complicit.

James defends his use of an unnamed source to that of larger news organizations, and even mentions Deep Throat. However, he doesn’t mention that larger news organization have a track record to stand by, and even then their editors will routinely require vetting unnamed sources as well.

Even as an amateur journalist, there have been story details that I have withheld printing in the past with sources I trust mainly because I couldn’t find a second source or record to back up the claims.

Instead, we have an anoymous writer, asking us to trust an anonymous source, who says we should trust said source because his anonymous friend said she was trustworthy.

Don’t buy this sort of rumour, folks, regardless of how much you want to believe it. Its an abuse of free speech, an insult to journalism and even blogging, and only opens us up for more of the same.

There’s plenty to dislike about all of the candidates… just stick to the facts, and always question the sources.

A message to anti-McCain/Palin musicians

Oh, liberal musicians and bloggers, how you fail to find an opportunity when its staring at you from behind rimless glasses.

Last week, the McCain camp came under fire for using “Barracuda” as VP candidate Sarah Palin’s theme song without seeking Heart, the song’s artists, without permission first. As noted by a commenter on LAist, the campaign only needs to obtain the rights and/or pay a royalty, not seek the permission of the musicians.

Nancy Wilson, who with sister Ann make the band “Heart”, told Entertainment Weekly: “I feel completely fucked over,” by the Republican’s use of the song. Their label, Universal Music Publishing and Sony BMG, “have sent a cease-and-desist notice ordering the McCain-Palin campaign to discontinue use of the song.” [via PopCrunch]

What groups like Heart should do is encourage the McCain-Palin campaign to play the song as much as possible, and then promise to donate a portion of royalties to Planned Parenthood.

Heart should also team up with other artists equally distressed about the McCain campaign and supporters use of their songs are release an entire benefit album in support of gay marriage, the Obama campaign or some other liberal cause.

Here’s what side A of the LP would look like:

  • “Barracuda,” Heart
  • “Our Country,” John Mellencamp
  • “Running on Empty,” Jackson Brown
  • “Right Now,” Van Halen

Album cover art by Shepard Fairey, of course.

More sourcing and details at Political Punch.

McCain pulls POW card on Leno

As much of an Obama supporter as I am, for a number of years I was also big on McCain. While there are some serious issues I disagree with him on, I felt he was a no bullsh*t guy with lots of integrity, more a Republican by default than effort. Even when he announced he would be running for President I was rather excited, thinking that for once, if a Republican won I’d at least feel like it was someone trustworthy.

Unfortunately, McCain has repeatedly deepsixed his “straight talk” image, the most recent evidence of this being the cheap misuse of his experience as a Vietnam POW.

On the Tonight Show last night, Jay Leno brought up McCain’s recent failure to answer a reporter’s question of how many houses he owns. McCain’s response, in part:

“I spent 5 1/2 years in a prison cell without — I didn’t have a house. I didn’t have a kitchen table. I didn’t have a table. I didn’t have a chair,” he said.

“I spent those 5 1/2 years … not because I wanted to get a house when I got out.” [from Reuters]

This isn’t the first time McCain or his campaign have used his POW history to shallowly dodge an issue, and don’t expect it to be the last. There is also some indication that the use of this experience, which he used to rarely bring up, is actually on the direct advice of Karl Rove… indicating, again, that if McCain is elected the next four years will be a repeat of the last eight.

That McCain served his country deserves respect, and that his survival as a prisoner of war in Vietnam builds his character up greatly. However, using this experience to deflect issues and questions that have nothing to do with an issue of war is not only beneath him, but anyone who should serve to lead as a senator, governor, or President.